Tag Archives: education

I Will Not Learn My ABC’s. Not In A House. Not With A Mouse.

ABC wall of shame.
ABC wall of shame.

Tiny-Small refuses to learn her ABC’s She’s got better stuff to do y’all (sorry, I’ve been reading Southern writers and it rubs off, you know?) She has bigger and better plans that don’t include reading. She’s going to be so rich and so famous that she’ll be able to pay other people to read for her. Apparently, she’s got this all figured out.

OK, maybe she doesn’t have some evil master plan, but still…she is laughing at my efforts to teach her the ABC’s. Wait, no, she’s not even laughing. That’s how much she doesn’t care about letters right now. She’s completely indifferent. Oh, she sings the songs and can spell B-I-N-G-O as well as the rest of her peers and she can sing her ABC’s complete with mushing the middle into something that sounds like “m&mespeas.” She likes the singing. She just doesn’t want to have to look at the letters. They offend her sensibilities for some reason.

I will not learn my ABC's
I will not learn my ABC’s no matter how many times you plaster them on my wall. It’s a matter of principle.

I, on the other hand, am a slightly off-balanced ABC tyrant from the third dimension of Tiger Mom land. I’ve posted three sets of ABC learning tools in her room. Her room is not that big, you guys. It looks like someone vomited the alphabet all over her walls. It’s like the bathroom of the ABC preschool bar up in there. Never mix your drinks: Milk and juice, shaken or stirred, will make you barf before snack time is over. Apparently, having the ABC’s in every direction is like an assault on her mind, or at least on her aesthetic. Which I have to say is something she values very highly.

It’s all me. I’m the one with the problem here. I keep thinking Tiny-Small needs to read before she is five. I feel a sense of panic when I think about it. What if she is behind her peers FOREVER and she can’t get the education she needs to get a good job and afford to live or be happy or eat food…ramble, ramble, stress, stress, blow this out of proportion until you can’t stop laughing at how ridiculous you are. What if she doesn’t have any accomplishments that her grandparents can brag about? I feel a shortness of breath coming on. Then I remember that 5 is like over 1.5 years away. We do have time here. Then, I also remember that we are maybe, probably going to homeschool her. So, if she doesn’t read until 15 we’ll still be OK. I mean, we do have a basement she can live in, right? Seriously, because if all of the homeschool rumors are true we’ll be lucky if she learns to tie her shoes or how to make friends or how to not drool on herself in social situations anyway…. The things people say about homeschooled kids is pretty insulting and silly, but I try not to judge people for saying them. OK, I totally judged them because they say things that aren’t true or based on any research, but I am pretty ridiculous sometimes too (see beginning of this paragraph) so I can’t complain too loudly. At least, I probably shouldn’t. Anyway, a lot of kids who went to school still live in their parents basements these days and some of them have poor social skills which means it was like they were homeschooled anyway, at least according to societies skewed views about homeschooling. So, I guess learning to read early, or at home, might not even matter THAT much. Plus, they do have Velcro shoes now and Tiny-Small can always make friends over the Internet just like the rest of us do. I mean that happens all the time these days too.

ABC's running rampant.
ABC’s running rampant.

In short, my self-induced ABC-panic may or may not be warranted. I probably won’t know for sure until Tiny-Small is 27 and asks me to fill out her job application because she can’t read the questions. Until then, I guess I will ease up on the ABC-pressure-cooker I have created. It’s like the preschool boiler room up in here. I’ll just keep reminding myself that 1.5 years is enough time to teach someone to read. Hopefully.

Of course, no matter what I do she’ll always be behind those kids that started reading at 6 months old or at birth, which I hear is happening more and more these days. Something about taking the right vitamins and wearing giant headphones on your stomach during pregnancy is producing a super elite race of infant scholars. Tiny-Small and I are only human and possibly average humans at that (as my friend Roberta says “there is a bell curve for a reason”). Besides, all of these ABC drill sessions are really starting to interfere with our piano playing, painting, pretending we understand quantum physics, and advocating for world peace. We really need to embrace our priorities and stop comparing our weaknesses to other people strengths. At least I do. Tiny-Small doesn’t seem to care about what other kids are doing at all…unless it involves slides and dolls and flower picking capabilities.

I have to stop reading Facebook status updates about children with superior alphabet skills. I have to stop worrying about their gluten-free diets, expensive preschool enrollment, and brain enhancing vegetarian brownies too. I have to accept the fact that I am never going to teach Tiny-Small mandarin or be awesome in all ways possible. It’s just hard to remember sometimes. I mean, we all want to be awesome in all ways possible, especially when it comes to parenting. Some of us are just hyperventilating about it more than others. At least I have found something to be above average in, right?

I can find a silver lining in anything if I try hard enough.

A Is For Crocodile

The education of Tiny-Small is off to a rough start. We’ve been working on letters so I drew this coloring sheet so we could talk about the letter A. Tiny-Small had a blast, but when we called Jim to tell him about it Tiny-Small said, “Dada, A is for crocodile.” It looks like I might need to practice my drawing before we move onto the letter B!

A is for crocodile
A is for crocodile (and tomato).

 

 

Math Is Hard

There is a lot of outrage going around because The Children’s Place was selling a shirt in the girls department that basically suggested girls couldn’t do math (or didn’t want to because they were busy shopping and dancing). I have to admit, I am shocked any retailer would think this was acceptable or appropriate in this day and age. How short are their memories? Don’t they remember the Barbie fiasco of 1992? Why would they invite this kind of parental anger on themselves?

On the other hand, when the outrage over this kind of corporate stupidity goes viral I start to feel a little sheepish because I really am bad at math. I am a walking stereotype and that is truly embarrassing. I’ve been behind in math since the fourth grade which was back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth according to my calculations (which might not be too accurate since I still, occasionally, use my fingers to do addition).

I’m pretty sure the only way I passed the required math courses in college was because my professors could see how hard I was trying and gave me extra help. Lots of extra help. They probably also prayed hoped figured I would find a career doing something more word based and they were right! Here I am, blogging. Don’t even get me started on the statistical analysis classes I had to endure to earn my degree in psychology. There is a reason my hair went gray early. Also, I might be the reason calculators were invented. Well, someone like me is the reason calculators were invented because I’m not THAT old. Seriously, I’m not. I just play old and cranky on the Internet for your reading pleasure.

The good (or maybe not so good) thing is Jim is bad at math too. He might even be worse at it than I am. So, being math challenged is an equal opportunity educational trait that can turn up in either sex, any gender, or any human being for that matter. Jim is so bad at math that he avoids it like the plague which leaves me the task of balancing the checkbook. Did I mention how much I love calculators? Also, call me crazy, but I am pretty sure both Jim and I would both rather be dancing or shopping than doing math. So, I guess that makes both of us bad at life, but at least we are equally bad at it, right? I mean that’s my point. Men and women can be good at math or bad at math or silly, dancing shoppers. It doesn’t really matter if you have a penis or a vagina. Math doesn’t care.

I have a theory that math is hard for a lot of people. I got that theory by Googling “Math is hard” and seeing how many pages came up. Maybe it’s because of the way math is  taught or not taught in school. Maybe it’s because we emphasise other subjects or value other skills in or society. I mean, people want to be celebrities now more than ever. Maybe we need to start treating our scientists and mathematicians like rock stars. We need to make math feel more relevant and more important than we have been. We’re obviously doing something wrong because some people can’t even make change correctly, but they have really awesome hair. Why can’t they have or do both? I mean, we put physical attractiveness over lots of things, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn lots of other things and find value and respect in them. It’s not surprising that so many people view math as too much work or too boring. It just doesn’t have the glory that comes with wearing skinny jeans and having teeth so white they glow in the dark. Maybe math needs a makeover and more sex appeal. Maybe math needs more sequins and glitter and diamonds to make it popular again. Maybe The Children’s Place T-shirt is an appropriate commentary on our society as a whole and it makes us mad because it’s true. I mean, if you take the gender specificity away that is. Let’s be real, as a nation we are not exactly at the top of the class when it comes to math and science. We could do better in that department.

I really hope Tiny-Small out-maths both her parents. Being math challenged isn’t fun. It can actually be a real struggle. She deserves better than that. She also deserves more from our culture at large. Just because her parents are foolishly dancing and shopping, doesn’t mean she has to do that too. She can be a math whiz genius and a girl who likes diamonds and sequins. It’s not an impossible or contradictory combination (for boys or for girls). I am hopeful that one day she will be able to explain to me why the letters x and y dominate so many math equations and help me determine the slope of the backyard. Maybe she’ll be able to help me figure out how to get an 8×10 photo to print out as a two-inch square in my computer photo program. Having a math person around this place would make my life so much easier. So, I hope that this nonsense about girls not being able to do math isn’t pervasive in our culture because I don’t want Tiny-Small to get the impression that math isn’t something girls should do. I want her to do math well because I can’t and we always want something better for our children than we have for ourselves.

I’ve come up with a few T-shirt slogans that would be appropriate for my family:

1. Math is hard, but my husband finds it harder.

2. Mathematicians are hot. I wish I was one.

3. Math is hard, but totally worth it.

4. I can add like a boss.

5. I know what a quadratic equations is and my dad doesn’t.

6. I love sequins and algebra.

7. While my parents were dancing I solved y=-x^2+4

 

What would your math slogan T-shirt say?